Hybrid Justice

Project summary

The Hybrid Justice project analyses the impact of ‘hybrid’ domestic-international criminal justice mechanisms in post-conflict and transitioning states. These courts and tribunals feature varying combinations of domestic and international staff, operative law, structure, financing and rules of procedure. Early hybrids were established in East Timor, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Bosnia and for Lebanon, before the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was expected to make hybrid mechanisms redundant.

However, the shortcomings of the ICC have led to the resurgence of hybrids – in Senegal, Kosovo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and proposed for Colombia, DRC, Syria, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and ISIS. Because hybrids were thought to be a relic of pre-ICC justice, there has been little academic research on their impact, meaning practitioners currently in the process of establishing hybrids have few guidelines on how to design effective mechanisms.

Working with the Wayamo Foundation, a leading international justice NGO, this project brings together experts on hybrids from academia, the ICC and the hybrids themselves to 1) produce an authoritative comparison of past and present hybrids; 2) critically evaluate the impact of hybrids on resilience in post-conflict and transitioning societies, including within wider programmes of transitional justice; 3) produce guidelines for the establishment of future hybrids; 4) produce policy advice for the ICC on how hybrids should be evaluated in terms of complementarity requirements.

Website: https://hybridjustice.com/about/



Dr. Kirsten Ainley is Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations and Director of the Centre for International Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is principal investigator on the Hybrid Justice project, and on the ESRC Conflict, Justice and Development project, researching the links between transitional justice and development in Colombia, Sri Lanka, Syria and Uganda.

Her research is in the field of global ethics and is concerned very broadly with relationships between politics, law and ethics in international relations. She focuses on the history and development of international criminal law, human rights and humanitarian intervention and has published on international criminal law, transitional justice, the International Criminal Court, the Responsibility to Protect and the notion of evil in international relations in journals such as Ethics and International Affairs, International Affairs  and the Cambridge Review of International Affairs. 

She is the co-author, with Chris Brown, of Understanding International Relations (2009) and co-editor (with Rebekka Friedman and Chris Mahony) of Evaluating Transitional Justice: Accountability and Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone (2015). Ainley has a PhD and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.


Dr. Mark Kersten is a postdoctoral fellow, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs. He holds a PhD and MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Guelph. His research focuses on the politics and effects of interventions by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In 2011, Mark founded the blog Justice in Conflict, which regularly publishes articles on the challenges of pursuing transitional justice in the context of ongoing violent political conflicts. He has taught courses on genocide studies, the politics of international law, diplomacy, and conflict and peace studies at the London School of Economics and SOAS. In 2016, Oxford University Press published Mark’s book, Justice in Conflict: The Effects of the International Criminal Court's Interventions on Ending Wars and Building Peace.

In addition, Mark is the Director of Research for the Wayamo Foundation, and has previously been a Research Associate at the Refugee Law Project in Uganda and as a researcher at Justice Africa in London.


The Dakar Guidelines on the Establishment of Hybrid Courts are a comprehensive reference guide on the establishment of hybrid courts. They offer national, regional, and international actors involved in the establishment of hybrid tribunals a set of key decision points and design options that should be considered when establishing and running a hybrid court.

Download guidelines